Aug 21, 2018

Make your 2018 Burning Man events schedule with Airtable

If like me you want to go to more events in the WhatWhereWhen but are completely incapable of planning things once you're on playa... this post is for you. Using data from the Burning Man organization and Justin Klein, I've thrown together a simple way for you to browse the over 4,000 events that are happening this year right now, fully days before the paper copy of the WWW hits your hands...

Jump to the data › 2018 Playa Events Directory

I've uploaded the data to a tool called Airtable, which is like a database and a spreadsheet all-in-one and very good for presenting data sliced and diced in different ways. If you're new to Airtable, it's worth checking out their guide, but you can also just click around and see what happens. The data is read-only so you won't hurt anything.

You can even embed Airtable views on websites, which I've done right here. By default, this one shows the details and description of all events sorted alphabetically. Try searching for 'yoga' or add a filter where "Type" is "art". Or to show only events on Tuesday, add a filter where "8/28 time (T)" is not "-" (just the dash, no quotes).

You can even recreate the traditional WhatWhereWhen sorting - non-repeating events sorted by day + time followed by repeating events sorted by time. The possibilities are endless once you know how to use a little Airtable.

Fun fact: as of the last data import, there are 3224 one-time events and 1193 repeating events which will repeat a total of 5225 times. There are 362 entries for art.

Next, I'll show you how to create and print a schedule of just the events you're interested in.

Create your own schedule

This is a multi-step process but I will walk you through it. At the end you'll have your own personal agenda of playa events that you can save as a PDF or print out.

1. Sign up for Airtable

If you don't have an account already, head over to the Airtable signup page. They have a free plan.

2. Copy the database

Open the Playa Events Directory database in another browser tab and the click Copy base in the top right-hand corner. You will be asked what workspace to copy the base into. Choose any one that you want - you'll only have one if you just created your account. Once the copy is is finished, you'll have your own full and separate copy of the data to work with. Only you will see the changes you make here.

3. ✅ Choose your events

Each day of the event has its own Airtable view (a view is a filter/sorted/grouped look at the same table), and you can visit them one by one starting with the day that you'll arrive on playa. So if you're arriving on Sunday, start with the Sunday 8/26 - select events view. That view and others like it have 4 columns:

Details: the event name, camp name, location, dates and time
Description: the event description
I'm interested: if you check this box, the event will appear on the printable view
I'll go on: for events that happen on multiple days, choose the day that you will go. If you leave this empty, your schedule will include the event on the first day that it happens.

As you scroll or search through the views, check the "I'm interested" and/or "I'll go on" boxes by each event that you want to show up on the printable report.

💡 Don't miss the Art - select events view, which contains a list of (you guessed it) all the art.

💡 To search and scroll through all events at once, use the All days - select events view.

4. 🖨️ Print your report

Once you've selected the events you're interested in, go to the Print my events view. You should see the events you chose there, grouped by the day of the event (or the day you chose in the "I'll go on" column).

Click the "..." at the far right end of the toolbar with "Sort" and "Color" and then choose "Print view". These are the print settings I find work best:

Your system's print dialog will come up when you press the "Print" button and there you can choose to save the events as a PDF or send them along to a real printer.

The print formatting doesn't fit as many events onto the page as it could unfortunately, but you can also download the view as a CSV (in the same menu as "Print view") and then import it into any spreadsheet tool that gives you more control over the print layout.

You can also share your printable events view with friends by clicking the "Share view" icon in the view toolbar.

That's it! Need some help? Found this useful? I've love to know.
Drop me a comment below or tweet at me.

Question or comment?